[Please read the Instructions before jumping in]
So, Shuni is propositioning him. No doubt about that now.
Lucien lifts a hand to curl over Shuni’s and wonders, briefly, what Lord Crow will think of this. Is he the jealous sort? Does it even matter? If he isn’t, no harm done, and if he is—well, that too, is a type of attention. And maybe Lord Crow will even enjoy being jealous. Plenty of people do, in their own way.
Besides, there’s good reason to accept this. He should treasure human warmth while he has it. He’s not likely to get that with any of the Lords. Right now, it’s just the two of them, this moment, and why not seize pleasure from it while he can?
Perhaps he should start thinking more long-term. But… tomorrow. He’s in no state to do that now.
Lucien laughs, curling his fingers around Shuni’s. “Yes,” he breathes. “Yes please. Let’s wear each other out, until I can’t help but sleep.”
Shuni’s own lips curl into a sharp grin. “I was hoping you’d say that.”
“How do you want to go about it?” Lucien asks, sitting up. He reaches over and pulls Shuni’s shirt over his head; Shuni ducks and lifts his arms obligingly. “You’re into Lord Crow, and so am I. Should one of us pretend to be him?” Then, with a laugh that comes out raw and rough, “Should both of us?’
“Ugh, you’re so…” Shuni sighs and laughs, leans in and kisses Lucien roughly, almost bruisingly. “No, I don’t want to roleplay as Lord Crow. Perhaps if I do any roleplay, I should roleplay as you. Get into character early.”
There’s something so funny about that that Lucien can’t keep himself from laughing, is still laughing as Shuni grabs a rough handful of his hair and swallows the sound in a kiss.
There’s something almost masturbatory about it as they strip each other bare, explore each other with hands and mouths. Shuni feels like another person, but he looks like Lucien, especially through the haze of pleasure and manic exhaustion. It’s as if Lucien’s reflection has come out of the mirror to touch him, and he supposes that’s been a fantasy before as well. He almost wishes he could lose himself in that concept entirely, but Shuni leaves his pendant on, and it grinds between their chests, off-center and distracting.
Not that distracting, though.
After, he’s barely able to pull away before he starts to fall asleep, climactic rise and crash draining him of both mania and lucidity. He tries to help clean up, but his hands are clumsy and blackness is invading his vision, and Shuni gently slaps his hands away and does it himself.
And then the world vanishes entirely and the dream comes again.
It’s not a desert. Things grow in a desert. A desert has the sun high in the sky and drilling down to torture those trapped under it; this place doesn’t have that. It feels drained. Inverted. Hollowed out somehow. The cracked ground under him has been sucked dry, has cracked and separated from itself. He feels as if he is the only man left alive in this world, and it’s not that he will die soon—it’s that he’s been forgotten here entirely when the forces of nature left this land. He expects to see bones, signs of whatever calamity happened here, but there is nothing but the cracked land, a sky lacking celestial bodies, air that isn’t air. He doesn’t know why he’s still here. He can’t breathe, and not breathing won’t end him, because he’s not alive, he can’t live, not in this world, and because he can’t live, he can’t die—
He sucks a desperate breath, coughing as he comes awake, his lungs struggling to work under the force of that dream. The slice of light under the curtain has vanished with the onset of dusk, and Shuni is kneeling over him, one hand outstretched, his eyes wide and surprised.
“What—” Lucien croaks.
Shuni sits back on his heels. “You all right?” he asks. “I was just about to wake you. We’ll want to leave soon, and it looks like you were having a nightmare.”
“A—nightmare. Yes,” Lucien says, shaken. He slowly pushes himself up and sees that Shuni is dressed in Lucien’s own discarded clothes. “You—what’re you wearing…?”
“We’re going to be each other, remember?” Shuni says impatiently. He sighs. “You’re a wreck. Hopefully we can pull this off.”
Right. They were to be each other today, and Lord Crow would get the pleasure of this little shell game they’ve made up. Lucien licks his lips. “Should I wear your clothes, then?”
“Of course.” Shuni seems to consider, then kisses Lucien’s forehead and shuffles back off the bed. “Coffee’s ready, and I’ll get food on. Feel free to pick anything you want from my closet, just come down once you’ve pulled yourself together.”
“Thanks.” Lucien watches him leave and takes a deep breath, closing his eyes and doing his best to push the dream away. He needs to get himself together. The play must go on.
Reminding himself of that does help a little. Naked, he pushes himself out of bed and looks around again at Shuni’s sparse room. The bed, the bookshelf, the writing desk with scraps of writing. He wonders if he should be nosy, try to get to know Shuni better by snooping around a thing or two. He could probably even check out the other rooms while Shuni’s busy.
Then again, he doesn’t have too much time to skulk around, and he shouldn’t do it naked regardless. He opens the closet door to see a remarkable variety of items in a remarkable variety of styles. He’s never taken Shuni for a clotheshorse, but now he’s thinking of it, he’s also never seen Shuni show up to rehearsal in the same outfit twice.
He really can wear literally whatever he wants, he thinks, and smiles ruefully. It’d be easier to decide what to wear if Shuni had something instantly recognizable as his, but it seems Lucien has to make up his own mind.
[Please leave suggestions for Lucien in the comments.]